It’s official: California storm didn’t cure the drought

Despite a “respectable” amount of rain this week across all of California, it wasn’t enough for federal agencies to improve the state’s drought picture, new data released Thursday show.

In a report that likely surprises very few, the U.S. Drought Monitor said of the storm that hovered over California since Monday: “More than this is needed to offset the accumulated deficits.”

Southern California has seen as little as 5% and, at most, 75% of its average rainfall depending on the location. Snowpacks in the northern half of the state are less than half of what they typically are.

Meanwhile, the entire state is considered to be in some state of drought. Nearly 80% of California is in “extreme” drought, and more than 55% falls into the agency’s harshest condition, “exceptional” drought, according to the report.

Only a few scattered areas of the state are showing surplus water, thanks to recent rain.


A low-pressure system from the Pacific Northwest brought steady showers throughout the first half of the week but despite warnings ultimately caused little damage. The forecast had called for several hours of torrential rains, raising the specter of mudslides, flooding and other hazardous conditions in areas burned by wildfire.

But rain totals ultimately were right on target with forecasts, officials said. Downtown Los Angeles received 1.52 inches of cumulative rainfall and the 2.79 in the San Gabriel Mountains, according to figures compiled by the National Weather Service.

Sudden storms on Thursday resulted in new complications. A downpour in Riverside County triggered a flash flood that washed out a road and stranded 14 people in five cars. And heavy rain in San Diego County sent an 18-inch deep, 80-foot-wide river of mud flowing down a highway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

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